(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 7/7.)
“Sooner or later, we’re bound to get it right!” So runs the wryly fatalistic, archly upbeat final line of Road Show, by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, receiving its European premiere at the coup-chasing Menier Chocolate Factory.
Boy, does that sentiment apply as much to this musical itself as it does to its protagonists, the rivalrous Mizner brothers, Addison (1872-1933) and Wilson (1876-1933), archetypal go-getters in America’s land of boundless opportunity.
Sondheim’s probable swansong has undergone a tortuous creative journey since it first trialled in New York in 1999 in a Theatre Workshop production steered by Sam Mendes. Thanks to the radical interventions of another British director, John Doyle – who signed up for a 2008 off-Broadway run – it looks as though finally, phew, and better late than never (Sondheim is now 81), all that slog has paid off: Road Show has come good.